February 18, 2019

The Thirteenth Saturday: The Third Glorious Mystery - The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Gospel ReadingLuke 24 (Click Here to Read)
Other Scripture Readings: 

MEDITATION

1. Jesus, before his Ascension, had said to the Apostles: “John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5)… “When they had entered (Jerusalem), they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of JamesAll these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:13-14).

“And they were continually in the temple blessing God” (Lk 24:53).

My soul, penetrate into the Upper Room. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is praying with the Apostles and the Disciples, who with confidence join this Holy Virgin in prayer to hurry the coming of the Holy Spirit. And we, what must we hope for in our petitions when we wish to invoke so great an Advocate? She is the Mother of Jesus; this very title is a pledge of her goodness and her power.

Let us contemplate them all together, as their hearts and spirits intimately enter into prayer; they express themselves powerfully, their desires and love forming one and the same language. What faith, what reverence, what concentration!

Here is the efficacious and necessary disposition to receive the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit: devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Spirit’s most beloved Bride, and fervent and constant prayer, especially in common because this reveals a union of faith and charity with the Catholic Church, in which all the faithful are members of one body with the Pope as the visible Head.

O Mary, who have always been a Teacher of the Church, and full of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, teach me to pray well. Pray on my behalf, and from the depths of my heart draw forth those groans and sighs which have the power of attracting the Holy Spirit to me. Inspire in my soul and place on my lips those prayers most in conformity with your Heart, that they may please you and be fully satisfied by this bountiful God.

Spirit of Goodness and Love, penetrate my heart and pierce it with the dart of your divine fire, that it may never cease praying, according to the counsel of the Saviour, with ardent faith, concentration, deep humility, steadfast trust, generous perseverance, and above all with a love so fervent that it may never be weakened. Jesus himself promised: “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Lk 11:10).

2. Consider, my soul: just as the Patriarchs and the Prophets contributed by their sighs to draw on earth the Divine Word, so too the Holy Spirit wishes to be invoked by our desires. Let us therefore open to him not only our mouths, but our whole heart and our soul as well, saying with the Psalmist: “With open mouth I pant, because I long for thy commandments” (Psalm 119:131).

But this bountiful God always anticipates his creatures: I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore, moved to compassion by your sufferings, I have drawn you to me (cf. Jer 31:3). And Jesus said to his disciples: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32).

Therefore often repeat, my soul, with the Bride of the Sacred Songs: Draw me, O Lord, after you, and we shall follow the fragrance of your oils (cf. Song 1:3-4).

Contemplate, my soul, what took place on the day of Pentecost. “They were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2). Understand that, as the wind scatters the clouds and purifies the air, so by entering the soul the Holy Spirit first cleanses the mind of all its evil thoughts and the heart of its earthly affections. It disperses the shadows of the intellect and then restores the soul to a wholly divine life. By his breath He gave life to humanity and to the Church of God, and by his breath shall preserve the Church throughout the centuries. “And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:3-4).

Behold these tongues of fire, lofty, shining bright, parted and resting on each one of these Saints…

These are the expressions of divine Goodness. This Spirit descends under the symbol of tongues. Man’s arrogance was the cause of the confusing of tongues at the Tower of Babel, which separated them from one another. The coming of the Holy Spirit brought to the Apostles the gift of tongues, by which the people of every nation were united in a unity of Faith and Baptism, in the Catholic Church. And a tongue of fire is the Holy Spirit, because He is a living source of love. Just as fire purifies metal by destroying any impurity, so the Holy Spirit is a burning fire purifying the soul of all its defilement. He consumes every obstacle, as attachment to ephemeral things, human honours, vanity and the comforts of life. He then raises the affections of the heart and the thoughts of the mind to heaven, and loosens the tongue to divine praises.

He is a bright fire illuminating our spirit as He sheds light on our sins and our thanklessness towards God, our Benefactor. He is a gentle fire insinuating itself in our heart, penetrating it and setting it on fire. Finally, He is a fire rising to heaven with its flames, a fire of love. This is essential to his nature, as He proceeds from the Father and from the Son by means of love. Therefore He longs to communicate what he possesses, indeed, what He is, and He pours charity and zeal into our soul.

Oh, the greatness and goodness of God! He propagates his truth and his Church through twelve Judean fishermen, deemed foolish and unrefined by the world in comparison to the wisdom of the Greeks and the Romans! These rough, ignorant and timid men, who so cowardly forsook their Master at the time of his Passion, inflamed by this divine fire communicated to them by the Holy Spirit, now confess the glories of his name in every language.

“And they began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).

They preach Jesus Crucified in Jerusalem, and the Gospel to all the nations of the earth. “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language” (Acts 2:5-6).

They announce to the world the greatness and wonders of Jesus of Nazareth. They fight like heroes, and prompted by burning zeal encounter torments and expose themselves to death. Finally, by suffering death they triumph over all the wisdom and powers of man, and cause even the tyrants to tremble.

We know well how to imitate the Apostles in their infidelity, cowardice and flight, but we do not wish to imitate them in their composure and incessant prayers. Therefore my soul, pray most fervently to the Holy Spirit, that He descend upon you this very day. From him seek a spirit of fervour and the fruit of zeal.

3. Fervour, the Holy Fathers say, is a supernatural movement of the soul which endlessly aims at becoming united with God by means of love, overcoming any obstacle rendering this union less than perfect. It is a divine fire, a heavenly flame coming from the Holy Spirit which generates zeal; that is, it readies the soul and renders it courageous in undertaking and fulfilling whatever God orders it, notwithstanding the difficulties. By multiplying acts of love the heart becomes so joined to God that, like the Apostle, it defies all creatures to separate them. “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?” (cf. Rom 8:35). Neither the sword, nor hunger, nor the tyranny of man or of the passions.

Ever vigilant, the soul corrects all worldly gratification in itself: an indiscreet word it considers a tacit reproach; it allows itself not even a curious glance at creatures. Its gaze is directed to God alone whom it loves.

The soul moans with St. Paul in finding itself on earth still. Its exile weighs it down, yet its impassioned yearning incessantly raises it towards heaven. Whether advancing, says St. Bernard, or remaining still, whether acting or resting, it never strays from the loving presence of its Beloved.

It longs for everyone to burn for love of him. Yet, ever benevolent and compassionate, it prays and suffers for others.

This spirit of holiness and purity will not sanctify us if we fail to offer sacrifices in proportion to the sinful secrets and longings of our heart. This heart cannot remain empty: as soon as it becomes empty of itself and of creatures, God fills it with his spirit. But alas, I am so sensitive to any word which displeases me that I easily become disturbed and upset. I am so pusillanimous that I do not dare rebuke the blasphemies of others, or reproach any mockeries against God, the Virgin and the Pope.

O divine Spirit, inflame my heart with your irresistible love. But alas, how many times did your voice speak to my soul, yet I listened not! Had I been faithful to you, how many vices I should have uprooted, how many virtues acquired, and what rapid progress should I have made in the perfection of my state! I would be quite full of you, O my God; instead, I find I am only full of myself and all the things of this miserable world! I would be burning with your divine love, while instead I am so languid that I dare not even say I love you! O divine Spirit, forgive my past infidelity entirely, which I so bitterly deplore. Break my chains, draw me to you, for I have resolved to be faithful to you. Bow the heavens and descend even to my nothingness: let yourself be possessed by so mean a creature. I shall welcome you with joy, and faithfully keep you. Heavenly fire, purify my heart.

O holy Apostles, pray for me, communicate to me your ardour, your living faith, your burning zeal. Grant me a share in the gifts you received from this Sovereign Spirit of goodness and love, that like you I too may firmly believe and zealously work for Jesus, and with you may come to enjoy him in heaven for ever. Amen.

***

VIRTUE – Zeal.

REFLECTION – Today offer many acts of love to God. Do not be ashamed of openly showing that you are Catholic, and encourage others to love God. Show that you are devoted to Mary by uncovering your head at the ringing of the Angelus.
As often as you can prevent any blasphemies or offences made against Her.
Mary is very pleased when we rescue girls and orphans from being lost. Remember that if you save a soul, you shall have also saved your own.

EJACULATION – O Mary, Bride of the Holy Spirit, renew my heart and offer it to God.

* * * * * * * * * *

A READING
A FAVOUR OF THE VIRGIN OF THE ROSARY OF POMPEII

IN POLICASTRODoctor Vincenzo Mangia, of Policastro, is miraculously healed of consumption by the Virgin of Pompeii.

This time it is a doctor confirming the miracle of his own healing.

This favour has already been published in Il Rosario e la Nuova Pompei.

“I have received from the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, who is venerated at Pompeii, the special grace of still being counted among the living.

The illness I suffered began with suppuration in the front area of the neck, whereby I was forced to undergo a painful operation. I was operated on by the famous Prof. Frusci, three times on three separate days in the second half of August, 1886; he was assisted by my very dear friend from childhood and colleague, Dr. Michele Capoa.

The wound was slowly healing when on September 10th I was struck by exudative pleurisy on the left, that is, on the same side of my neck lesion.

Prof. Frusci, having become suspicious regarding the nature of this newest ailment, discovered some Koch bacilli, proof of the tubercular nature of the lesion.

The Professors Fazio, D’Ambrosio and Cacciapuoti confirmed the diagnosis of tubercular pleurisy: recognizing the gravity of the illness, they all advised a return to my native town, for it seemed easier for me to accept death with my relatives close by.

Having arrived in Policastro, the disease did not delay in spreading to the lungs; and a fatal bronchial-alveolitis was the natural consequence of the tubercular pleurisy.

Fever, cough, sputum, haemoptysis, bedsores, extreme loss of weight, all foretold my approaching inevitable end.

I could not fool myself, being a doctor, so tried to find the serenity needed in such moments: I prepared myself for death which was close at hand. Doctor Fatigati turned to my wife and said,

“Mrs. Mangia, I must painfully confess that there is no longer any hope of recovery for your husband.”

“Doctor Mangia already has one foot in the grave,” Doctor Pugliese sadly reported to the Rev. Rector of the Diocesan Seminary, Fr. Tommaso Granata…

My companion in studies, Doctor Gregorio Falconi, publicly announced to various friends:

“All the resources of science have been exhausted, death is certain.”

The Most Excellent Bishop of this Diocese, Msgr. Giuseppe Maria Cione, paid me a visit, and today I still remember with gratitude his comforting, divine words.

Finally Doctor Furiasi said to my mother:

“Mrs. Mangia, you must get used to the idea of losing him.”

January 12th arrived. My cheeks had become cyanotic, my lips livid, my eyes assumed a stony expression, breathing was difficult; the agony was advancing in giant steps.

All my relatives were gathered around my bed. In a whisper, in the magazine Il Rosario e la Nuova Pompei, my sister was reading about the favours granted by the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii. I was contemplating her image, and every so often kissed the blessed roses of this universal Shrine.

How incredible! In a flash all of my sufferings ceased.

The clock was striking 1pm on that same day; the fever, the sputum, the cough, everything vanished quite suddenly. Immediately everyone shouted “a miracle!”, being unable to explain by means of human reason my instantaneous recovery from a disease declared incurable, and which had already brought me to the edge of the grave.

For my part, I wanted to allow a year to pass before announcing the above-mentioned miracle accomplished by the Most Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii, so that no one, seeing me now alive, well and as healthy as before, could oppose the evidence. Furthermore, this luminous truth has been confirmed by the citing of many illustrious names, persons whom I invite to deny, if they can, that the facts are as I have reported them.

From Policastro Bussentino (Salerno), written and signed in my own hand.

24 August 1890

DOCTOR VINCENZO MANGIA”

(From the publication IL ROSARIO E LA NUOVA POMPEI, Year VII, 1890)